Cameron Litvack has become Charmed's most reliable writer. Not that there's huge competition, but his scripts generally have a certain sparkle to them, especially when it comes to dialogue. Run Piper Run puts Charmed's strongest character center stage and features a couple of neat lines here and there, especially some fun shout-outs in response to the ridiculous story arcs at work right now. Piper also doesn't bug this week, unlike her random bout of hagitude last episode. There's still a lethargy to Holly's performance, but at least it beats somebody like Rose McGowan, who's been acting like somebody coming down off a four-day coke bender all season.
The A-plot is riddled with plotholes, but is generally fine. It plays on the already-existing problems in the 'identity switch' story arc, and features some reliably trashy acting from Davis Gaines' waxy-faced D.A. bad guy. The story sags a little at times, notably those horrible scenes featuring Piper's adventures in Prison Cliches (butch cellmate, ineffectual lawyers, wardrobe commentary etc.), but there's a drive to it and some actual thinking on the part of the sisters, all of whom actually come up with a successful plan this week.
Everything else in Run Piper Run is pretty mundane. Phoebe's romantic junk with Dex continues to be hideous, and furthers Phoebe's own selfish characterization of late ("Can't help you with the whole 'being in jail' thing Piper, gotta save my future-husband-slash-sperm-donor!"). I did get a kick out of seeing Dex's fug metal Africa shit tumble and break in that premonition, but this storyline is still a time-filler. Just like Leo's random flirtation with some horny housewife. Ugh. There's also the Billie problem, and don't you just love that the show threw her into scenes with Rose? There's so much scenery-chewing they're practically upchucking splinters.
Besides the awful subplots, Run Piper Run has some successful elements. It's not an overt disaster like last week and for that I'm thankful, but Charmed seriously shouldn't exist at this point. C-
Guest stars Beatrice Rosen (Jenny Bennet/Maya Holmes); Davis Gaines (Walter Nance); Jennifer Taylor (Eve); Charles Emmett (CEO); Ken Garito (Aide); Jason Lewis (Dex Lawson)
Writer Cameron Litvack Director Derek Johansen